Drew Zimmerman has his sights set on college. For some, that aspiration doesn't seem too lofty, but for Drew, the goal is the pinnacle of several years of hard work.
Drew, the 19-year-old son of Craig and Jackie Zimmerman of Lincolnton and Chris and Shelley Reynolds of Appling, was in an automobile crash two years ago that left him seriously injured and unable to keep up with his schoolwork.
"I was on the way to Greenbrier High School, on the road leading to the school, when I leaned over to mess with my radio," said Drew, remembering the day that left him with several broken vertebrae and a punctured lung. "I lost control of my truck and it flipped three times."
Out of school for half a year, Drew fell behind in his schoolwork and had some personal issues to deal with. Though he is reluctant to share the personal problems he had to face, people who know him say those times were some of the darkest of his life.
"I've known Drew since ninth grade," said Michel Young, a counselor at Greenbrier High School. "He has had a lot of problems, both in school and personally. But, this past year, I could tell that he was making a change and that he was overcoming those obstacles."
Drew Zimmerman, a Greenbrier senior and soccer player, received the Accepting the Challenge of Excellece scholarship from the Exchange Club of Columbia County.
Overcome those obstacles is what Drew did. He even entered an essay-writing scholarship contest sponsored by the Columbia County Exchange Club and was awarded the club's $1,000 scholarship prize. "That's a big thing to overcome something," said Penny Rayfield, chair of the Columbia County Exchange Club's Accepting the Challenge of Excellence scholarship committee. "The trials and tribulations you go through, to pull yourself out of a downward spiral."
The scholarship is awarded to one person per participating club. Criteria for the award includes two written essays, one on obstacles the writer has overcome and the other on the writer's plans for the future. The award focuses on recognizing students who have overcome difficulties and are on track to graduate and go to college. "They all had really good essays," Rayfield said about the submissions. "But, I think Drew's essay just captured it a little bit more.
"That is exactly what I needed," Drew said of the scholarship. "It is perfect. I'm really happy."
Now, Drew is preparing to enroll at Augusta State University and is focusing on his favorite pastime: soccer. He plays soccer for the Augusta Arsenal Soccer Club's Unite team and also plays in a men's league. An avid soccer player since age 6, Drew also played on the Greenbrier High varsity soccer team his senior year.
"For him to keep his chin up through it all, to graduate and go on to college, he's really made a comeback," Rayfield said.
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